Little Rara – KL’s very own Jeh O Chula

Little Rara cover pic
Little Rara is a hidden Thai noodle shop in KL

If you’re one of the many who’ve backpacked to Bangkok, we bet Jeh O Chula was on your itinerary. It’s one of the few Michelin eats in Thailand, so it’s no surprise that the restaurant is usually the first search result that pops up when you Google “food in Bangkok”. 

Tourists and locals alike would willingly join the snaking queue knowing full well that it might take up to 2 hours before they’re served a bowl of the famed tom yum noodles. So for the rest of us who haven’t had the chance to pay Thailand a visit or simply can’t endure the gruelling waiting time, Little Rara Noodle House in KL serves an almost identical version of the iconic tom yum noodles. 

Don’t sweat it if you haven’t heard about them before. They may be right smack in the middle of KL, but their cosy tent setup is hidden by the towering skyscrapers the city is known for. They’ve managed to remain under-the-radar for 5 years now, but all that might change when Malaysians catch news of their affordable and authentic Thai eats. 

If you’ve been meaning to go on a food crawl to discover more new eats, let us help you:

Famous tom yum noodles in KL

Tom yum noodles
Portions are huge here, so this medium-sized pot can feed about 5 hungry diners. 

Just like its Thai counterpart, Little Rara’s Tomyam Talay Meggi (from RM19) comes with a heap of delicious toppings – juicy prawns, mussels, and crab meat. All that is topped off with golden egg yolks. The seafood adds an umami kick to the spicy, tangy broth. 

Seafood toppings on noodles
Non-spicy eaters may be discouraged by the daunting red broth, but it’s not as spicy as it looks

Break open the yolks with your chopsticks and give everything a good mix before digging in for maximum flavour. If you’re particular about Thai food, this pot here should be able to satiate your thirst for authentic tom yum broth.

Stringy and chewy noodles
The noodles are cooked al dente and have soaked up the aromatic tom yum flavours from the broth

Must-try Thai dishes

When someone says “let’s have Thai for dinner”, we find ourselves salivating a moment later just from thinking about our favourites: tom yum, basil chicken, pad thai, and green curry. 

Little Rara has all of those and some other menu options that you might not be too familiar with. We say give all of them a go. 

Pad thai
Do get a taste of the noodles before mixing in the sugar on the side as we found it sweet enough as it was

We couldn’t pass over getting a Pad Thai Jareya (from RM7), especially when we could already smell the wok hei from the kitchen behind. The blend of tamarind and fish sauce gives it an added tang to complement the subtle heat from the chilli flakes. 

Pad thai noodles and prawn
Smooth, chewy noodles that have been coated with an addictive sweet and tangy sauce.

They don’t skimp on portions either, so you’ll be full with just a plate of it. Plus, they’ve thrown in a bunch of succulent prawns in there as well. 

Next up, we got to try the Nasi Ikan Rebus Goreng (RM8.50). It’s a simple yet hearty dish that’s good for a fuss-free dinner. It comes with perfectly fried fish that’s crispy on the outside and tender when picked apart, a side of stir fried kangkung, and some spicy sambal to go with the fish. 

Fried fish with kangkung
The fish has been lightly seasoned with salt, and goes really well with the red chilli sambal.

There’s a grill right outside the tent, so you’ll be smelling all that smoky BBQ goodness before you’re even seated. We opted for the Real Beef (RM13), which was served in thin strips of grilled beef with a side of homemade chilli sauce. 

Grilled beef slices
Caution: The chilli sauce is on the spicy side, but it pairs well with the beef.

Keep your feast going with some desserts

Once you’re done with your main course, you’ll probably find yourself craving for some sweet treats. Since you’re in a Thai restaurant after all, you have to get yourself a serving of their Pulut Mangga World (RM8).

Sticky mango rice

This was our personal favourite out of the whole lot, simply because of how sweet the mango slices were. The coconut milk and sticky rice were not overly sweet, so you won’t get that after sugar fatigue crash when you’re done. 

We were so impressed with the first dessert that we couldn’t resist getting their Naa Tieaw Coconut Ice Cream (RM8)

Coconut ice-cream

You’ll get 3 scoops of coconut ice-cream per bowl, with some grass jelly and sweet corn as toppings. We wished there were more toppings because they went so well with the subtle coconut flavour of the ice-cream.

Little Rara serves authentic tom yum noodles 

Little Rara shop
This is the entirety of Little Rara – minus some outdoor seating – at the very end of the car park.

You probably wouldn’t be stumbling upon Little Rara by chance, unless you’re working in the area or find yourself lost in the middle of Bukit Bintang.

For a clearer idea of what you should be looking out for when driving over here, keep your eyes peeled for Menara HLA. There’s a carpark right beside the building, and you might just be able to spot the top of Little Rara’s white tent. It’s easier to find at night, when their bright lights are a big giveaway. 

Little Rara tent setup
The colourful tiny flags that we’re used to seeing during Hari Sukan can be found as part of their decor

The next time you’re craving authentic Thai food, head to Little Rara. They may seem to have appeared out of nowhere 5 years ago, but that certainly didn’t stop hungry diners from finding their way to the carpark Little Rara occupies. 

Little Rara Jalan Kia Peng
Address: 1, Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 5.30PM-12AM (Closed on Sundays)
Telephone: 012-372 2706

Little Rara Chow Kit
Address: 331, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 4.30PM-11.30PM (Closed on Sundays)
Telephone: 016-305 5388

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Photography by Amber Lee.

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